19 Jul 2005

New Zealand Greens urge government to consider Pacific passport

12:35 pm on 19 July 2005

The Green party in New Zealand is urging the government to give serious consideration to the idea of Pacific passport, as suggested by French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru.

A Green party spokesperson, Keith Locke, says the suggestion is a welcome sign that French Polynesia is starting to see itself as a part of the region, rather than an outpost of France.

Mr Locke says opening up borders in the region could bring benefits to both New Zealand and Pacific Islanders.

But, New Zealand's foreign affairs minister, Phil Goff, says there is a long way to go before such an idea could be considered.

Mr Goff says the issue has to be handled delicately because of the risk of economic refugees flooding in, and there would be a risk of smaller countries becoming unviable if people left.